Mamdouh Al-Sharif ممدوح الشريف

Mamdouh Al-Sharif, Damascus, Syria, 1885 – 1934.

An Arabic calligraphy artist from Syria, a pioneer in many calligraphic forms, and a revival of the Kufi scripts in the Levant. He practiced and taught calligraphy in his studio in Damascus, and produced significant artworks in Syria and the Arab world.

Today, I’m sharing with you a selected works of Mamdouh Al-Sharif in the Kufi scripts which I believe he exceeded at and added a new Arabian touch to the art of calligraphy whilst the Ottomans were controlling and limiting the Arab people’s life and even their Art back then!

The sources of these works are from my archive and from the internet.

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ومن جرّب المجرب حلت به الندامة، من صدق غنم
Mamdouh has experimented in many styles, I’m starting with this minimal one,  he played with the Square Kufi blocks to create an avant-garde piece. 

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الثقافة
A masthead/logo for a cultural magazine that was published in Damascus. We see the courage usage of Kufi as a typographic line. 

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Ancient Typography from Damascus

After some excavations, I’ve found these beautiful typographical designs of the Safwat-el-Molk mausoleum’s dome, the mausoleum was removed and replaced by the Havana cafe building. It was built between 1110 and 1111 AD for the wife of the Seljuk ruler of Damascus.

Please enjoy looking at these superb and rare Damascene Seljuk Kufic samples.

Info and illustrations from: Ecochard, M. and Sauvaget, J. “Le Tombeau de Safwat al-Molk.” In Les Monuments Ayyoubides de Damas, 1-13. Paris: Editions Boccard, 1938.

 

 

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The dome before demolishing.

 

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم إن الله وملائكته

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الذين آمنوا صلوا عليه وسلمو تسليما صدق الله العـ

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الحمدلله على أفضاله —- على محمد وآله

 

 

 

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Subhi Bilani

Subhi Bilani, a classical calligrapher from Syria, he was a famous artist and teacher in the 30’s and 40’s of the past century, I liked these pieces because he used an organic way to write Ruqaa, I’m pretty sure that he was so fast to write them.. you can see the unclear letter endings, and sometimes the minimal shapes for some other letters.

What I also liked is the strong angular baseline across the words.

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